Take up your space - You aren't "too much"
Updated: Feb 28, 2020
When I was little I was constantly told I was “too much”. I was “too loud for a girl”, “too bossy”, “too stubborn”, “too emotional”, “too angry”, “too ballsy” and “one day someone would knock me down a peg”. I internalised these messages and I found myself in relationships with people who also thought I was “too much”. I learnt to reduce. I learnt to detach. I learnt to be self-sacrificing and ‘nice’. I thought it was kindness but it was people-pleasing.
I had learnt to stop asking for my needs to be met until every so often I would burst from holding them in, I would shout in frustration, and then I felt selfish and I would feel so guilty, because I felt I had been too much. I had shouted, cried and expressed myself poorly. I believed I had been too much. I would apologise for my behaviour and the reasons behind it were washed away with the apology. I would, again, learn to reduce. I subconsciously learnt that to be loved is to be less. Everyone talks about compromise and I thought that’s what I was doing. I had reduced myself to such a small version of myself that, although I was living a pleasant enough life, it wasn’t mine. I was living my then-partner’s life. It did not meet the hopes, desires and expectations I had for myself. I had not even tried to make my dreams a reality & I found myself playing the sidekick in my own story.
I started to pay attention. I learnt to listen to the things I was saying and feeling rather than dismissing them because of the way I had said it. I learnt to move past inner shame to understand that actually how I was feeling was valid. I don’t pretend to have been perfect in my past relationships and I am by no means perfect in my current partnership – but here’s the thing – you don’t have to be perfect in order to deserve to have your needs met, your feelings validated and your whole self loved.
After years of believing I was too much, of squashing myself down and minimising who I was, I started to embrace myself. I realised I was only “too much” because I was out of balance. I realised that kindness is not being overly self-sacrificing - that type of kindness is unkind to yourself, always. Real kindness is not defined through a lens of self-destruction.
In order to have your needs met fully, you will need to know exactly what they are. I started to ask for what I needed, small things really. The lack of progress in them being met taught me what my non-negotiable needs were. I listened to words and I paid attention to actions. I took a step back from giving and looked at what I was receiving. With empathy for my partner and love for myself, I realised I was not asking for too much, I was asking the wrong person.
I had been “too much” because I was fighting for myself to be heard, I had spent a lifetime being reduced by others until I learnt to reduce myself. I was shouting to get listened to – by other people, but mainly by myself. When I started to embrace my voice, I validated my feelings, I learnt to identify and respect my boundaries, and I started to live a happier life. A life where I was as valid as those around me. I realised that through trying to be all-loving, through trying to be kind and self-sacrificing, I had lost myself.
I found that kindness is defined through a lens of self-love; of strong boundaries and self-compassion and that this grounds you to be able to give empathy-based kindness to others, without burning your own boundaries. Through this lens you can enforce your boundaries in a loving and compassionate way. You do not need to reduce your feelings, dreams or any part of yourself in order to be loved, respected or considered to be kind. Indeed making yourself smaller will create a life made of significant compromises to the point where you have forgotten yourself and you wake up living a life that is not yours. If it doesn’t make you miserable it might simply make you just unhappy enough that the thought of changing things is all-the-more terrifying. And if that’s the case for you, then I ask you “what do you want to look back on in your life?” and “will your current trajectory get you there?”
And if, like me, you have always been told you are “too much”, then I invite you to be more. To embrace your whole self, because however you are feeling is valid and there is a wealth of power inside you if you sit and really listen to yourself to understand what you need and want. If you are feeling “too much” internally, you might find your behaviour changes, or you become overwhelmed by your emotions. If this is happening, you might find your life is out of balance. Rather than shame yourself for this - embrace the fact that something feels off and use it to help you to identify what needs to change for you to regain your balance.
If your behaviour is chaotic, what are you trying to avoid?
If you feel angry - what are you trying to protect/defend?
If you feel numb, or are numbing yourself, where does it hurt?
If you feel aggressive - what are you trying to survive? What are you fighting?
If you feel jealous - what is it you aspire to? or, what do you find distrustful?
If you feel scared - where do you need more safety?
If you feel resentful - where are you giving too much?
As you start to be more you - more sensitive, more accepting of your emotions - you may find some people in your life do find you are too much. That’s OK, they probably aren’t your people. Don’t minimise yourself to fit in. Be more. Be even more. Take up your space. Be more sensitive, more vulnerable, more emotional. Tap into your power, listen to your thoughts, feelings and dreams and use it to build the life you truly love. Blossom into who you always thought you could be.
If you need help finding your edges, identifying your needs, your non-negotiables and your voice, talk to me and together we can find the fullest version of yourself.